Wharfedale Rugby Club’s popular junior academy has a new backer.

Keighley clothing business, Brook Taverner, stepped in last month after the club’s long-standing partnership with Skipton Building Society came to an end.

They have pledged substantial funding to the project which provides coaching in schools and colleges, but Wharfedale are still seeking additional backers to fill the remaining void in their funding pot.

The club’s director of rugby Mike Harrison, chairman David Baker and academy director Hedley Verity have issued a joint statement on the academy funding.

It said: “As a whole club we wish thank Skipton Building Society for its fantastic contribution to promoting and developing junior rugby in the Craven area.

“This sponsorship has enabled Wharfedale RUFC to take rugby into almost every primary and secondary school throughout the area, coaching many thousands of children age six-18 years in the process.

“We are confident this has had a positive impact for all parties involved. This investment by SBS has provided a platform for children to improve their sporting skills, provided an additional health and fitness program in schools, and encouraged boys and girls wanting to take the next step and join a rugby club.

“For this and many other reasons we are extremely grateful to Skipton Building Society and their past and present chief executives, John Goodfellow and David Cutter, respectively.”

Brook Taverner director, Andrew Booth, is delighted to help the club. “As a keen Wharfedale supporter, and the father of two young children who attend local schools, I am delighted to have the opportunity to help the academy and the club continue to provide first-class rugby coaching to all school children in the Craven area,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Skipton Building Society said: “Skipton Building Society gave significant funding to the youth development work at the club for over 14 years.

“Giving something back to the communities where our members live and work is very important to us as a mutual building society.

“Our new community strategy is taking us in a fresh direction and enabling us to share our support with other deserving causes, and we also feel this is a fantastic opportunity for another organisation to benefit from a relationship with Wharfedale.

“We look forward to hearing about the club’s ongoing achievements in the future.”

Any potential sponsors interested in sponsoring the Wharfedale Rugby Club Academy, should contact the club.